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In Understand The Sermon On The Mount-B, Jesus presents us with an insurmountable list of standards for Christian life. How can we measure up? Jesus answers in this sermon lesson. 

Understand The Sermon On The Mount B1

Harmony Of The Gospels Series 12, Mt 5:17-48

For more information about Jesus see these books on the History of Jesus Christ.

Also, consider these best-sellers for more detailed analysis of The Sermon On The Mount.

In Understanding the Sermon on the Mount 2, we're going to look at how Jesus says we can measure up.  What can we do to feel we've "measured up"? Maybe you already feel you have but, if you're like me, many things in your past and present make you feel unworthy. It could be past sins that, though forgiven, still create a sense of guilt or disqualification for God's glory. Possibly even current sins that were committed since receiving Jesus. Maybe its just thoughts of sins we have that generate this feeling. The accuser (the devil) tells us, "See, you wouldn't act or think that way if you were truly saved." The religious people we know 'pile on' and tell us the same thing in many ways. These are lies from the father of lies (the devil). Don't listen to them.

Many religious people take parts of the Bible out of context and use sections like we're studying today (as I have) to create feelings of guilt and condemnation in themselves or others. Jesus isn't about condemnation…He's about forgiveness. Don't let anyone, including you, put a guilt trip on you and make you feel like you're anything less than a child of the Most-High-God. Always take the whole Bible into consideration when trying to interpret the Word. That's why just regular reading through the Bible is so important; it helps us stay on track in our understanding. The whole Bible is God's Word; not just the red letters. When we take this section in context, we learn that…

Only through Jesus can we measure up, and He's enough.

1. The Standard: This sermon was the first recorded sermon to His brand new recruits, the Disciples. It's as if the teaching was a 'new employee orientation.' You see, these disciples left everything, job, family, possessions, so they could follow Jesus. It was a big career change. Imagine yourself at the orientation for your new job, and your new boss says things like the following:

Vs 21-26: You all know you can't murder, but if you remain angry, call someone a name or fail to satisfy someone else's grievance against you, it's grounds for dismissal.
Vs 27-32: Adultery is prohibited, in fact, if you even think about adultery with a married person or if you marry a divorcee, you're fired.
Vs 33-37: Don't break a promise, don't even make a promise, just be completely honest and always do what you say you will.
Vs 38-42: Instead of taking your legal revenge you must totally submit to others even if they want to hit you, take your possessions or enslave you.
Vs 43-47: You must love and pray for everyone, especially your enemies.

Would you continue to work there tomorrow? We can imagine what must be going through the disciples' minds as Jesus was clicking off His organizational policies. 'I hope he doesn't find out the truth about me; I'll be gone in a second." He seems to raise the standard so high no one could reach it, then…

2. The Summation: Vs 48, "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." Well, that rules me out, how 'bout you? Anyone out there feel as perfect as God? There has got to be some explanation.

The highly religious among us would consider all this the rules you must live by; the do's and don'ts. We've all met them, those people who act as if they never do anything wrong, as if they're already perfect, and look down their noses at us as if we're lepers just because we're honest about not measuring up. Just be patient and loving to them. Try to serve their needs if you can. Paul refers to them as our 'weaker' brothers and sisters. I had a friend tell me he had to tell a minister that God wants the minister to leave his wife of six years and their two little children. Why? Because she had been divorced before he married her. I heard later that the minister left them. This is the legalistic world of the Pharisee…to take a rule God set to preserve the family and use it to destroy a family.

Some even go so far as to believe and teach if you break these rules you disqualify yourself for heaven. It's like God is just waiting for us to mess up so He can stamp rejected on our foreheads. The problem with that kind of belief is, when we mess up (and we will), we feel we might as well give up. There's no hope for us any more. We go and become twice the sinner we were before we found Jesus because there's nothing to lose. Let's get this loud and clear so there's no misunderstanding…That's not what the Bible says!

You say, "Wait a minute, Glen, we just read Jesus' words telling us to be perfect, telling us to do the impossible. What's the solution to this, then?"

Continued at Understand Sermon On The Mount-B2

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